Student in school prank fiasco turns down plea deal
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
SUGAR LAND, TX (KTRK) -- Some Clements High School students are opting for an unusual punishment to avoid more serious charges in a senior prank that got out of hand.We first told you about the plea bargain on Monday. Now one student says he'd rather go to trial. Part of the punishment offered to those accused in the Clements High School break in is that their records will be expunged if they complete the punishment. But some say that because of modern technology, there is no such thing as expunging a record anymore, and the defense attorney for one of the suspects says he'd rather just take a chance on a trial. "Boys will be boys is right," defense attorney Steve Rocket Rosen said. Rosen is the defense attorney for at least two of the former Clements High School students accused in a break in at the school in May and he is advising his clients not to take a plea offer from the Fort Bend County District Attorney, in part because of the public embarrassment of the punishment. "Wearing a sign in front of the high school -- That's shame, humiliation, demeaning and embarrassing," Rosen said. And in part because he says even though the DA's office will expunge their records, it never really goes away. "This case should be a case where a young man does not have a criminal record for the rest of his life," Rosen said. Back on May 13, Sugar Land police caught people running from the school just after midnight. A back door had been pried open and the intent, apparently had been to put chairs and desks on the school's roof. Sixteen then-seniors at the school were caught. On Friday, 11 of them pled no contest to criminal trespass charges. As punishment they'll pay restitution and court costs and hold signs in front of the school saying, "What I did was a crime and not a prank." But KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy says the real concern is what pleading no contest will mean for the future. "Even if you get your record expunged, there's a possibility it shows up because of imaging of computers today," Androphy said. On Tuesday morning, Benjamin Yu turned down the offer. He'll be on trial on December 27. The DA told us on the phone Yu will have his day in court and Yu's attorney expects he'll walk away with a clean record. "We will prove to the district attorney that he will excel in school. He's already put in 40 hours of community service," Rosen said. Another boy is due in court next month. He is also facing a felony drug charge. His defense attorney says he had an Adderall pill in his pocket the night of the prank, but we are told he too plans to reject the deal.
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sugar land, local, adela uchida
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